Rokasensuiso - inside the urban jungle in Otsu city

It feels like the time stopped flowing here - Rokasensuiso.

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It located on Zeze, inside the urban jungle of the Otsu city, Shiga prefecture since 100 years ago. It is designated as a National Important Cultural Property.

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I feel I found a new place to be relax. The reason why I felt like this - it builded by Shunkyo Yamamoto, the Japanese traditional painter was born here, 1872. There is a painting room on up stairs, which you can see his masterpieces.

IMG_0111.jpgIMG_0112.jpgAwesome Japanese traditional garden beside the Lake Biwa (Biwako).

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There are 4 Japanese Tea ceremony room here. Each room has theme and secret designated decoration. I cannot tell you the details, so you will find it.

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Easy access to Otsu from Kyoto, it takes 10 minutes by train.
If any chance, please visit to Rokasensuiso to see the Japanese traditional painting here.

IMG_0110.jpgMeditation, walk around the Japanese garden or just see the masterpiece....etc. Ideal for relax, How to enjoy whatever you want.

Rokasensuiso (1-19-23 Nakasho, Otsu City, Shiga prefecture) Booking in advance : info@rashinban.main.jp

L'île aux cent visages

Isle side.JPGLe lac Biwa, le plus grand au Japon, berce trois îles, dont deux sont inhabitées. La plus petite ne fait que 600 m de diamètre, mais sa forme particulière offre à ceux qui en font le tour une variété de facettes; c'est pourquoi on l'appelle Takeshima, l'île aux nombreux paysages. Tout aventurier peut s'y rendre en 20 minutes de bateau.

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Notre odyssée commence un bel après-midi de mai, à la gare de Hikone. Une navette gratuite nous amène au port de cette ville, célèbre pour son château, d'où partent les bateaux vers Chikubushima et Takeshima. De là, nous profitons du voyage pour regarder la côte est du lac qui s'étend autour de nous comme nous nous dirigeons vers le centre du lac.

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Avant de débarquer, nous faisons le tour de l'île en demi-lune pour l'observer sous toutes ses coutures. Elle se montre réellement sous un jour différent selon notre angle de vue; d'ici, un roc, de là, une jungle. Le temple, la pagode et les éminences qui la couronnent disparaissent et réapparaissent au fil des flots.

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À l'abordage, nous nous retrouvons dans la jungle. Devant nous, dans les rochers, se dresse un escalier entouré de végétation; au-dessus, les oiseaux s'égosillent sous le soleil; à nos pieds... des coquilles d'œufs? Il semblerait que les corneilles en mangent le contenu avant de laisser tomber les restes un peu partout sur l'île.

Au haut des marches, le parfum de l'encens et le son des prières nous enveloppent. Le temple se dresse devant nous et nous prenons le temps de nous recueillir avant de continuer notre exploration. Nous devons monter et descendre sur des sentiers de pierres et de racines, nous permettant ainsi de voir de près les côtes observées plus tôt, pour nous rendre au grand rocher que nous avions aperçu du bateau. On peut y lire l'Hommage au Sutra du Lotus, qui y aurait été gravé sur trois années par le moine Nissei de l'école bouddhiste Nichiren alors qu'il était suspendu au bout d'une corde. Une statue de Nichiren se dresse d'ailleurs juste à côté du roc.

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Nous revenons sur nos pas et bravons les coquilles d'œufs et les nuages de mouches pour visiter la pagode et le monument des serments à l'empereur. On dit que la première aurait été érigée par le seigneur de Hikone en mémoire de son père. Le second possède cinq faces, où sont inscrites autant de promesses de devenir de meilleurs sujets.

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Nous descendons ensuite vers l'autre pointe de l'île. Je m'y sens un peu comme au bout du monde. Le soleil brille et des oiseaux effrayés s'envolent de leurs nids à notre approche. Malheureusement, nous devons retourner au bateau; notre visite a atteint sa limite et nous ne voulons pas manquer le seul moyen de revenir sur la rive opposée.

Okaeri.JPGAuthor : Émilie Lamont-Cardinal

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Une tradition millénaire au coeur de Shiga

IMG_20180614_101518.jpgDepuis des temps anciens, le chanvre est utilisé au Japon pour la fabrication de vêtements et à usage religieux dans le shintoisme, culte animiste japonais. Mais, malheureusement depuis la prohibition survenue après la seconde guerre mondiale, la culture du chanvre est strictement encadré et devenue minoritaire dans la société de consommation actuelle.

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Malgré tout au coeur de Shiga (Omihigashiomi), un centre perpétue la tradition de la culture et du tissage traditionnel en chanvre. C'est pourquoi, fort de cette découverte extraordinaire, je décida de visiter ce lieu pour faire l'experience de cette tradition millénaire.

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Tout d'abord, je fut accueilli par le staff du centre qui nous conduisit au champs pour la récolte qui fût plutot aisée.

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Puis à travers un processus d'effeuillage assez ardu, j'ai pû arriver à fabriquer des fils de chanvre grace à l'aide precieuse du personnel, très gentil et serviable. Le matin venait de se passer en un éclair!

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Après une petite pause déjeuner fort sympathique, j'ai pû découvrir le tissage à "l'ancienne" et me rendre compte de la diffculté de fabriquer une jolie soucoupe. Cela demande beaucoup d'efforts et de concentration mais quel joie de pouvoir le fabriquer soi-même.

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Apres 2 heures de labeur, ma soucoupe en chanvre est finie!

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Un grand merci à tout le personnel pour leur gentillesse et disponibilité!

CIMG3917.JPGAuthor : Sébastien Mouton

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Special Thanks for Omi Jofu Traditional Crafts Center : http://asamama.com/en/

Linen Experience in Aisho Town

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以前到日本關西地區旅行的時候,通常都選擇去京都、大阪和奈良。其實滋賀縣都有很多好玩和體驗的地方,今次預約了位於滋賀東部愛莊町的織麻布體驗。

在日本購物的時候,都會見到很多麻製的產品,但是都不會研究是如何製造而成的。在這個體驗中,我們從收割「麻」,並取出植物纖維。真是想像不到我們就利用那些纖維做編織,並使用傳統的編織機。

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具有歷史價值的傳統技術能夠流傳至今,亦能夠讓遊客體驗,製成品又可以給我們帶回家做記念,真是不要錯過。

Author : 鍾擎慧(Natalie)

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一直以來日本的麻料製品都是很受歡迎的。這次有機會可以做這樣的體驗,認識麻的製作過程,感到非常特別。

從來沒有想過植物的纖維是這麼的有韌性,也體會到當時候的製作過程是多麼的費功夫。

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以前常常在圖片或是電視上有看到過手工織布,這次是親自體驗,覺得這是一個應該要被傳承下去的文化。

希望能夠多介紹一些朋友來此體驗!

Author : 鄭名桓

miho.jpgSpecial Thanks to Miho Museum

Viagem para a ilha de Takeshima

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Apreciar a beleza das águas calmas ou violentas, perceber as diferentes tonalidades ao longo do ano e as montanhas que se escondem na neblina ao longe. Tudo isso faz parte de olhar para o Lago Biwa. No entanto, ver o lago de uma das ilhas é uma experiência rara e diferente, que eu finalmente pude experimentar visitando Takeshima.

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Nesse dia, começamos a viagem encontrando nosso guia na estação de Hikone. Lá vocês podem visitar o Centro de Informações Turísticas da cidade na própria estação e, dali, é uma caminhada de dois minutos para o ponto do ônibus gratuito (14:40) até o porto de Hikone, de onde você poderá embarcar para a ilha (saída às 15:10).

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"Takeshima" significava literalmente "bambu" (take) e "ilha" (shima), nome bem fácil de entender, já que no passado havia muitos bambus por lá. Como a ilha é fina e alongada, ficou famosa por ter diversas vistas dependendo da direção da qual se olha. Manteve-se então o nome Takeshima, mas escrito com os caracteres "muitas" (ta), "paisagens" (ke) e "ilha" (shima). A "ilha das muitas paisagens", portanto.

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O trajeto leva apenas 20 min, mas é o suficiente para ver a paisagem do lago. Antes de aportar o barco dá uma volta na ilha e você poderá conferir por conta própria as muitas vistas e entender a razão do nome.

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Enquanto está dando a volta, preste atenção na enorme rocha retangular. Conta a lenda que Nissei, um monge do templo Myôhôji em Nagahama, teve um sonho e soube de boatos de uma ilha deserta no Lago Biwa de onde se ouvia o Sutra da Lótus sendo entoado. Ao chegar em Takeshima, Nissei percebeu que era o lugar com o que tinha sonhado e ergueu um templo, Kentôji, passando os três anos seguintes entalhando o mantra Namu Myôhô Renge Kyô na pedra. A ilha toda é considerada sagrada.

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Além da Daimokuiwa, há ainda na ilha o templo Kentôji, criado por Nissei, uma pagoda de pedra, uma estátua de bronze de Nichiren, um monumento à Carta de Juramento e vários lugares com vistas incríveis para o lago. Tudo isso trazido ao longo dos anos para a pequena ilha

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Como a ilha é bem pequena, o barco fica apenas por 30 minutos e só há um horário por dia, então cuidado para não se atrasar. Há outros horários, mas só neste você pode descer na ilha.

Ohmi Marine (Cruise ship to Takeshima island) : http://www.ohmitetudo.co.jp/marine/info-takeshima.html/

(Article by Rodrigo Brinca de Jesus Limeira)

How to Be Beautiful in Shiga

In Aishou Town, Shiga prefecture, there is a shrine called Toyomitsu Jinja Shrine.

IMG_20180313_162822.jpgBelieve or not, this shrine is well known for beauty effect!

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At the side of the path is a purification trough (temizuya) where visitors cleanse themselves and the office that administrates the shrine (shamusho). First, you can feel "LOVE" with this water.

Next, you must touch this tree.

IMG_20180313_163324.jpgThe benefits are : become a beauty skin, perfect body and beautiful legs ... etc.

IMG_20180313_163626.jpgYou must visit if you want to become a beautiful.

Toyomitsu Shrine, 392 Toyomitsu, Aishou Town, Echi-gun, Shiga prefecture 529-1321 Japan

Public transport : 15 min walk from Echigawa station, Ohmi Testudo line

Explore Otsu City

On February 17th, we had the opportunity to go to Otsu city, the capital of Shiga Prefecture, and visit Ogoto Onsen and Miidera temple. We got to try a few different things; at Ogoto Onsen we did a foot bath, and at Miidera temple we participated in Zazen and made our own personal Juzu!

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We first went to the Ogoto Onsen, the oldest onsen in Shiga prefecture, to try a hot foot bath. We expected the water would be hot, of course, but it turned out to be so hot that we couldn't even keep our feet in it at first. Although, once we got accustomed to the heat, it really did feel fantastic. It was a very soothing experience.

DSCF1652.JPGAfter the footbath, we ate lunch at the Onsen. We both ordered some Ohmi beef Gyudon, and it was delicious. The beef was juicy and flavorful, and it was a wonderful meal.

DSCF1671.JPGAfter having lunch at Ogoto Onsen, we went to the Miidera Temple, which is one of the four largest temples in Japan.

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A monk from the temple took us on a tour of the temple grounds and various temple buildings, while teaching us about the history of it.

DSCF1684.JPGFrom the main gate, which is called the Niomon Gate, we went to the bell pavillion which houses on the Japan's three famous bells.

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This bell is known for having a beautiful tone, and Tom and I were both allowed to ring it. We also saw Reisyo-do, another bell that was built in the 8th Century.

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We then walked around the main hall where we saw statues of many different Buddhas.

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We were also able to see the Issaikyo-zo, which is a library for the temple's scriptures, and To-in, which is the mausoleum of the temple's founder.

DSCF1757.JPGAt this time we made our way over to a building that was outside of the usual tour route. Here, we learned about Zazen meditation, and were able to try it ourselves. It was a little difficult to maintain the proper sitting posture, but we thought the experience was very interesting.

DSCF1772.JPGHere, we learned about Zazen meditation, and were able to try it ourselves. It was a little difficult to maintain the proper sitting posture, but we thought the experience was very interesting.

IMG_20180217_142358.jpgNext, we walked over to the Bimyo-ji Temple to make our own juzu, which is a bracelet of beads often used as a charm.

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The juzu consist of three stone beads and 24 wooden beads. The different kinds of stone and wood represented different things. We ended up picking beads that will help us in times of stress and in our studies.

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We all had trouble tying the elastic string together at the end, but all our bracelets turned out very nicely!

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Lastly, we walked up to Kannon-do where we said a prayer at the temple and took a picture with our guide.

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The tour of Miidera Temple was fascinating and we both enjoyed it very much. The trip to Otsu has left us excited and eager to visit more places in Shiga and to learn more about Japanese history.

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(Author : Charles Hill)

Let's Make a Japanese Kite

Do you know how to make a Japanese kite?

Normally, no special materials are necessary, unfortunately only you need a Japanese paper called Washi "和紙".

IMG_20180127_121538.jpgHe is a Japanese kite master who working at Sunai-no-sato, Kanou Shojuan (Otsu city, Shiga prefecture)

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My little two British / Brazilian girls are tried to making her own kite, but its too complicated. Firstly, my kids draw on her kite with cute animal pattern and some lovely items.

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IMG_20180127_122713.jpgIMG_20180127_122702.jpgIMG_20180127_124135.jpgVery difficult!!!!

But finally....

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Making and flying a kite with your child is a great way to spend time together and teaches useful skills, even some basics of aerodynamics. Best of all, it's fun to take advantage of blustery and freezing days!

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Thanks to all staff in Sunai-no-sato! We had a great family day out!

Shigaraki - Expérience de poterie

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Shigaraki, niché au cœur des montagnes de Shiga, près de Kyôto, est très célèbre pour ses poteries datant de plus de 1300 ans.
C'est pourquoi, j'ai décidé le temps d'un après-midi de faire l'expérience de la création d'une tasse de thé.

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Situé à 1 heure de Kyoto, me voici arriver dans cette petite ville ou chaque magasin de poteries expose des centaines de tanuki (blaireau légendaire représentant la prospérité et la fertilité, voir le film Pompoko de Miyazaki, studio Ghibli) devant l'entrée de leur ateliers.

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Un potier m'accueille et me conduit dans une salle destiné aux visiteurs souhaitant parfaire leurs connaissances en poterie.

IMG_20180122_145957.jpgAprès plus de 20 minutes d'explications sur le pourquoi du comment, me voici en train de modeler, réfléchir sur la forme que je souhaite donner à mon œuvre art.

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Finalement, tout se passe très bien grâce aux conseils avisés du potier.
Puis il vient chercher une assiette blanche que je dois peindre... Cela me rappelle mes tendres années d'école!
Finalement après plus d'une heure de travail, c'est la fin de cette superbe expérience au contact d'un potier professionnel très gentil.

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Shigaraki est à conseiller aux personnes souhaitant sortir des sentiers battues tout en restant proche de Kyoto!
Je recommande vivement de découvrir cette petite ville historique tout en apprenant la poterie en toute décontraction.

(Author : Sébastien Mouton)

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Hatsumoude in Chikubujima Island

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It was a really great experience.
When I was move to Shiga, I've desired to go to Chikubujima Island from bottom of my heart.

Chikubushima is a tiny island and located north of Lake Biwa in Shiga prefecture.
It takes around 20 minutes by ferry from Imazu Port in Takashima city, and it it a Shiga's hidden sacred place.

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I went to Chikubujima as a Hatsumoude on 2nd January, 2018.
Hatsumode is the first visit made to a shrine or temple at the start of the year, to pray for happiness in the year ahead.
So, I felt it is perfect to go to Chikubujima Island as a Hatsumoude.

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In Chikubujima Island, you can find both Hogonji Temple and Tsukubusuma-jinja Shrine.
The Benzaiten (Sarasvati) at Hogonji Temple is known as one of the three best in Japan.
The gabled karamon gate at Hogonji Temple is said to be only remaining piece of Hideyoshi's Osaka-jo Castle, and it is a registered national treasure alongside the main shrine at Tsukubusuma-jinja Shrine.

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Since ancient times, this island's God has also been worshipped for providing safe passage for travel across water.
Recetly, the island is now widely known as one of the most powerful spots for spiritual energy on Lake Biwa, and is a place to truly experience water and prayer.

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If you have any strongly desired wish, you shoud try to kawarake-nage at Ryujin (Dragon God) haisho.

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The Ryujin Haisho means you can see (or meet) to Dragon God here. Here is most strong energy you can feel.

Hope my wish will come true within 2018....

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More information about Chikubujima island : https://en.biwako-visitors.jp/spot/detail/2472

Biwako Kisen Chukubujima Cruise : https://www.biwakokisen.co.jp/en/chikubushima.html

Omi Marine Chukubujima Route : https://en.biwako-visitors.jp/spot/detail/230

Chikubujima Offcial website : http://www.chikubushima.jp/e_origin